Batukaru mountain is the 3rd highest in Bali after Agung and Abang in Bali’s east. If you want to claim the trifecta of mountains in Bali, Batukaru will certainly be on your list and with the top pretty much treeless these days from a fire in October 2019. The hike to the summit is 100% worth the time and energy. I will admit that the mountain beat me on 2 occasions and it was 3rd time lucky for me to reach the summit. 

I’m all about enjoying the climb and the first 2 times I went in March 2019 in the wet season. The top, after 2000m elevation becomes very overgrown and thorn bushes rip your skin if you don’t have it covered up. I also lost the trail because it was so overgrown so on both occasions I turned around due to lack of motivation to continue.

October was different and here is my account of hiking to the summit of Bali’s 3rd highest mountain. 

I started my day at 330am from Berawa beach, close to Canggu. The ride from Canggu isn’t that far with it being just over an hour. I actually left the house at 445am and went via the Jatiluwih fields to get to the start point. 
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Click here for the start of the hike.

 

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I read in the news that there had been a fire on the mountain and that the trail was closed. I realised later on that it was only the main trail from the Batukaru temple that is closed so it was all good.

 

Start of the hike

As I had been here 2 times already I knew exactly what was in store and I made the ascent at a decent pace but not too fast. After around 30 minutes I caught up with 3 Balinese men and 1 Balinese woman, all about 60, hiking in bare feet in traditional clothes to the summit. 
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I had a quick chat with them and asked them what they were up to. They said they were hiking for the temple at the top and it seemed that because the main route was closed due to the fire people are now deciding to climb from the Taksu route close to Jatiluwih rice terrace.

They let me pass and I was up the hill once more. At around 2000m elevation is where the trail starts to deteriorate and get a little overgrown. It doesn’t just go up the hill anymore but down, around and even has some flatter sections. October was a far better time to be climbing compared to the much more overgrown month of March.

 

 
The path meanders around the mountain before coming out on the top ridge. This is the point where I gave up last time because I could see that I would get lost. The path was indistinguishable and I had no idea which way to go. This time though the path was clear and once you reach the top ridge it was just a matter of turning left and following the ridge. The final section takes around 20-30 minutes with some up and down sections. 


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Summit

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Once you pop out onto the summit are the first thing you see is what looks like a weather station with some security cameras mounted to it. I have no idea what these are for but they are certainly recording because I could see the red light flashing on them. Once you pass the weather station is where the true summit lies. I popped out onto it and to my absolute surprise there were 2 geese and 1 chicken all alone on the summit. I have no idea what or how they were here but it seems that the Balinese may have bought them up here for some religious reason.

The summit itself is a very open and flat area with kind of 2 levels. The first level that you’ll come to is the camp ground and the 2nd level, around 1m lower is where the temple is located and it specifically asks that you shouldn’t camp here as there is a holy temple there. 

I started to go down the other side and noticed that there had infant been a huge fire right on the summit. It had burnt a lot of trees and the views had really opened up. It wasn’t dangerous as it had already burnt out but it was still a little hot.

The wind was insanely strong and after taking some photos and spending around 5 minutes on the top I was back down to where I had come from. I passed the Balinese again at 1800m and they were still going strong up the hill in bare feet. It baffles me that people can do that, they must really have strong feet because the way was rough and I certainly couldn’t imagine going without shoes on.
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I was back at the scooter by 7.50am and eating breakfast at a small shop on the Jatiluwih rice terrace by 8. It had taken 2 hours to reach the summit and 1 hour to get back down again. 
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If you wanted to hike this it’s certainly possible to do it in a morning as the ride home to Berawa took almost twice as long as the ride to get there. Traffic in southern Bali is no joke! 
 

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Would I recommend this hike?

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This hike is a good choice if you’ve already hiked some of the other mountains and want to try a new one. Far and away the best hike on the island is Agung, without a doubt. But seeing that it is closed for hiking due to the increased level of volcanic activity there are other mountains to be sought after. Batukaru is quite a challenging hike with 1300m gained in just 4.5kms making it quite steep going. The views from the summit are some of the best on the island so this hike shouldn’t be missed. 
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Logistics for the trip

How to get there


For the exact starting point of the hike click here.

I stayed in Canggu with my wife and left home at 345am. The ride took me one hour as the traffic at that time of the morning is almost non existent. On the way home though the journey was almost doubled due to the insane amount of cars and bikes on the road. It may be better to stay in one of the gueshouses in Jatiluwih, just a 5 minute ride from the start of the hike. 

Where to Stay

My wife and I stayed at Yarralumla gueshouse which we booked on Booking.com for $30 AUD a night. Canggu is the new cool hangout on the block and has a lot of affordable options for food and accomodation compared with Seminyak and Legian. 

How long is the hike

The hike is 9.7km return with an elevation gain of 1300m. It is quite difficult as the first 1000m of gain are quite steep and then the hike kind of flattens off around the 2000m mark. A fast hiker can be at the top in 2 hours but if you are not too quick allow 4 hours to reach the top. Down should take around half the time it takes you to reach the summit. 

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Gear

  • Small backpack
  • Head Torch 
  • Rain proof jacket and pants (the weather may be clear but you want to always be prepared. Mountain weather is unpredictable) 
  • Breakfast and snacks 
  • Warm Jacket 
  • 2l water minimum 
  • Camera
  • Hiking boots or trail shoes with really good grip
  • Hiking poles – the trail is very steep after the last campsite 

 

 Do you plan to hike Batukaru? Let me know in the comments how you get on.

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